India's northernmost and most elevated reserve, Dachigam is a national treasure nestled in the beautiful and troubled state of Kashmir. Spread over 140 sq. km., Dachigam is split into the Upper and Lower Dachigam sectors, both of which have seen better days.
The magnificent hangul or Kashmir stag is the main mammal in the area and Dachigam is also home to the elusive snow leopard, marten, ibex, musk deer and other animals characteristic of the Himalayas. Birds like the Koklas pheasant and the monal pheasant inhabit the region. Srinagar's Harwan Reservoir is fed by the numerous streams in the Dachigam forests, making the park a crucial catchment area. Since 1989, political unrest has caused this area to be severely affected as shifting priorities, terrorists and Indian officials have all played a part in the downfall of the park. The area is, however, always breathtaking and more adventurous wildlife enthusiasts can still enter the park.
The region remains cold throughout the year. The summer season (from May to August) is cool and very pleasant with temperatures ranging from 8°C to 14°C; however, winters (September and December) are particularly harsh when the temperature drops to a range of -2 to 4°C.
Apart from its unspoiled natural beauty, its most important wildlife remains the hangul (Kashmiri stag), an endangered species of red deer. Despite its substantial harshness, the winter season is the best time to view the hangul, when it gathers in the shelter of the lower valleys. The leopard, which is the only predatory animal in the area, has been rarely spotted. It is the same with the hard-to-pin-down snow leopard found in the higher altitudes. However, tourists with resilience, patience and a little luck have had the fortune of seeing these unique wild cats. Apart from the hangul and the two varieties of leopards, various other species like Himalayan black bear, musk deer, Himalayan marmot and species of wild goats like the makhor are found at Dachigam. Various exotic Himalayan birds, colorful pheasants like the crimson tagopan, monal pheasant, blood pheasant and koklass pheasant, golden eagles and bearded vultures (lammergeier) are also seen encircling the beautiful blue skies above Dachigam forest.
Areas of interest near Dachigam include the picturesque city of Srinagar (22 km) Jammu city (200 km), the alighting point for Vaishno Devi (an important place of pilgrimage for Hindus), and Patnitop, a scenic hill resort.
The Lower Dachigam region is accessible via a metaled road, but Higher Dachigam areas are accessible only on foot. The nearest rail junction is Jammu at a distance of 200 km away from Dachigam National Park. The nearest town is Srinagar at a distance of 22 km and is well linked to Dachigam by a proper metaled road. Srinagar airport is the closest air link to the National Park.